London Irish: Brian Smith dismisses injury crisis

London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith says there is no fitness crisis at the club and he is not concerned by their mounting injury list.

Among others the Exiles are without Halani Aulika, Guy Armitage, Chris Halaufia, Setaimata Sa and Patt Phibbs.

View from the treatment room

  • Player: Topsy Ojo - Prognosis: Hurt hamstring in pre-match warm-up last week v Exeter. Expected to be available this weekend.
  • Halani Aulika - Ruptured achilles tendon - expected to miss the rest of the season.
  • Jon Fisher - Concussion. Comeback uncertain.
  • Mike Mayhew - Injured ankle in training which required surgery. Likely return late October/early November.
  • Setaimata Sa - Had knee surgery. Likely return late September.
  • Tom Homer - picked up a groin injury in the pre-season fixture against London Wasps. Likely return late October/early November.
  • Jamie Hagan - Picked up an ankle injury away at Munster. Likely return late September.
  • Pat Phibbs - Picked up a foot injury in pre-season. Likely return late September.
  • Blair Cowan - Picked up a calf injury in pre-season. Likely to be available this week.
  • George Skivington - Was concussed in the match against Munster. Brian Smith says if he's not back this week then he will be available next.
  • Guy Armitage - Broken wrist bone. Return late October.
  • Chris Halaufia - Knee ligament.Likely return early October.
  • Tom Fowlie - Toe fracture. likely return early to mid October.
  • Kieran Low - Concussion. Uncertain.

But Smith says the lengthy injury list is to be expected given the physical nature of the sport.

"We do not see it as a crisis or anything unusual, injuries happen," he told BBC Radio Berkshire.

And Smith sees the injuries to key players as a chance for youngsters at the club to take their chance while the Exiles have also been able to bring in experienced pair Ian Nimmo and Ian Gough to cover for George Skivington and Kieran Low.

"The thing about coaching and playing is injuries are an issue for one player and it's really an opportunity for another," he added.

"It's a duel-edged sword. A lot of people are getting their chance because of injuries. For example Topsy Ojo got injured in the warm-up last weekend and Alex Lewington stepped up to the plate and did really well and put is best foot forward as far as the Premiership is concerned.

"From a team point of view we have taken it in our stride. We are not the sort of club who are a handful of rock stars, it's a team approach.

"We have back row who know they have to cover the second row and visa versa and everyone is just pitching in."

In total Irish have concerns over 14 of their 35 man squad and Smith says he may look to bring in some more new faces.

"We are getting a little bit skinny in a couple of areas because I think we have the smallest squad," he said, "But some youngsters are getting a chance to step up. We are getting on with it and dealing with it and are used to it.

"In saying that, in the areas we are thin we are making some signings. Ian Nimmo has come in for a month because three of our five back row forwards had concussion injuries so we are addressing these issues."